Concepts Based on Sustainability Approaches

1-2 days




When developing a sustainable business concept, it is fundamental to consider which approaches towards sustainability have been activated, i.e. how and why a concept can be identified as sustainable rather than promoting it as just being sustainable.

This activity applies the two learning tools, the Sustainable Design Cards and Material Pathways, to outline the ways in which you can argue for and discuss sustainability in the fashion and textile industry, based on a combined lifecycle and longevity approach. Depending on the level and direction of activity, it can either use one or both decks.

How to articulate sustainable approaches in the fashion and textile industry?

Links to Pillar(s)

Cultural - Economic - Environmental - Social



If students have not previously worked with the Sustainable Design Cards and Material Pathways, a first step can be to ask all students to:

  • Select 2-3 cards, that relate most to their own practice

  • Select 2-3 cards, they would be curious to learn more about 

  • Select 2-3 cards, they find difficult to understand These can be discussed in a plenary session. You can collate students’ answers using online survey providers such as Kahoot or Google Analytics.


Groups of students are asked to select 3 cards from the Sustainable Design Cards and/or Material Pathways deck and develop a concept based on these (‘need to have’ cards). Supplementary cards can be used to guide or support the concept (‘nice to have’ cards) 

  • How do strategies affect each other? How do they oppose, or how do they support each other? 

  • How will the chosen cards affect your designs, choice of material, function, aesthetics etc.?

  • What will the lifecycle of the products/service look like? 

STEP2 : CLASS Students present their concepts in class. The following questions can be used to explore the chosen concepts:

  • How have the approaches been activated in the concepts? 

  • How do the approaches relate to or navigate in the product lifecycle?

This Activity Links To
  • Sustainable Design Cards and Material Pathways – either printed decks, PDF or access to the webpage 

Suggested Readings

Hasling, K.M. & Ræbild, U. 2017. “Sustainability Cards: Design for Longevity”. I Proceedings of PLATE 2017 – Product Lifetimes and the Environment, 166–70. Delft, the Netherlands.

Hasling, K.M., Ræbild, U. & Kofoed, L.H. 2017. ”Sustainable Design Cards”. Design School Kolding 

Hasling, K.M, Ræbild, U., Patel, A. & Herrtua, I. 2020. “Material Pathways”. Design School Kolding 

Ashby, M.F. & Johnson, K. 2014. “Chapter 8. Materials and Sustainability”. In Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design, pp. 156–78. Butterworth-Heinemann